Fearless Q – Write Back ‘Atcha On the Church
There were a number of questions submitted about the Church that I did not address in my message this past weekend. Here are a few responses:
1. Are Catholics Christians? We can ask the same question of Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans etc. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord is a Christian. Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 Just because someone was born into a Presbyterian family, for example, does not make them Christian automatically. When a person professes their own faith in Christ, then they are “born again” (John 3:3) and are saved.
2. Why do we say ‘we believe in the holy catholic church” in the Apostles’ Creed? We aren’t Catholic. When the Apostles Creed states ‘the holy catholic church’ it is referring to the universal Church who believes in Christ as Savior, not just the Catholic church.
3. Why are there so many different denominations when we all believe in the same God? Other than the split between the Eastern and Western branches of the Church around the year 1000, it took 1500 years before the Church split into two main groups: Protestant and Catholic. Since then the number of different denominations has multiplied profoundly. Today, there are over 30,000 different denominations in the world! One person once said that “it takes many different kinds of churches to reach many different kinds of people.” Different denominations have slightly different beliefs and practices which still all fall under the umbrella of “Christian.” The litmus test is what a denomination or religion believes about Jesus. The reason we do not consider Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses’ “Christian” is their doctrine on the person of Christ. Our denomination is the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and our motto is “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” Many of us like this stance because it gives a lot of latitude and grace within the Christian Church for many that have different opinions about many different theological issues.